FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 30, 2004

Governor Barbour Announces Successful Completion of PLAD Enrollment
DOM analysis: large majority of PLADs recipients to pay NO prescription drug costs after transition

Governor Haley Barbour and Division of Medicaid Executive Director Warren Jones announced today that all 48,000 PLAD (Poverty Level Aged and Disabled) beneficiaries transitioning to Medicare tomorrow have been contacted and offered individualized assistance for enrolling in the federal program and other patient assistance programs that provide prescription drugs at little or no cost.

During an exhaustive three-month process requested by Governor Barbour, Mississippi Medicaid case workers handled an average of 250 PLAD cases per day, completed more than 100,000 forms for beneficiaries and helped PLAD recipients enroll in alternative health care coverage before the October 1 implementation date.

Governor Barbour praised the Division of Medicaid for its work. "Dr.
Jones and his staff at Medicaid have done tremendous work for our PLAD population. I wanted these recipients taken care of before the implementation date, and they have done just that," he said. "Our case workers really care about their PLAD clients and worked hard to make sure they got the assistance they needed," said Dr. Warren Jones.

In addition to the enrollment assistance program, the Division of Medicaid conducted a statistical analysis of more than 300 random PLAD cases to determine the individual impact of the Medicaid-to-Medicare transition. According to the analysis, 75% of PLAD recipients will not pay anymore out-of-pocket expenses than they are currently paying on Medicaid. "I am pleased that our PLAD beneficiaries are not going to experience significant problems getting the prescription drugs they need," said Governor Barbour.

Governor Barbour announced earlier this month that waivers had been granted by the federal government allowing more than 17,000 special needs PLAD recipients to stay on the program.

The PLAD transition and other Medicaid changes that are part of the recently-passed 2004 Medicaid Reform Act will save the state more than $100 million. The Division of Medicaid will soon begin implementing other parts of the Act including: a face-to-face redetermination of Medicaid eligibility for every recipient; and the establishment of a "Medical Home" for beneficiaries which will link them with a primary health care provider and allow for yearly physicals to promote preventative rather than costly reactive health care.

DOM officials say that any of the small number of PLADs recipients who were unreachable by phone were mailed enrollment forms for alternative prescription drug coverage. "We worked hard to assure that every PLAD recipient had information about the many alternatives available to them," said Jones.

With the federal waiver in hand and PLAD recipients enrolled in alternative coverage, Governor Barbour said that the state's Medicaid reform effort is working because the state has "provided a safety net for Mississippi PLADs and a savings for Mississippi Medicaid."


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Medicaid Reform Act of 2004
Medicaid-to-Medicare Transition for PLADs June - September 2004 A Safety Net for PLADs. A Savings for Medicaid.

***Federal Waivers have been received allowing 17,000 PLADs recipients to stay on Medicaid and keep their health care coverage instead of shifting to Medicare coverage.

***Detailed enrollment interviews with 48,000 PLADs recipients have been completed - an unprecedented undertaking which included individualized consultation, document fulfillment and mailing of enrollment forms for the Medicare Drug Discount Cards and the Patients Assistance Programs.

***Any of the small number of PLADs recipients who were unreachable by phone were mailed enrollment forms for alternative prescription drug coverage programs.

***75% of PLAD recipients will not pay anymore out-of-pocket expenses than they are currently paying on Medicaid according to an in-depth analysis of more than 300 random PLADs cases done by the Division of Medicaid.

***Including the PLADs transition, the State of Mississippi will realize more than $100 million in significant cost savings in the Mississippi Medicaid Program during a time of budgetary crisis which will help keep the program sustainable.

***The Division of Medicaid will soon begin two of the most important reforms to date: a face-to-face redetermination of Medicaid eligibility for every recipient; and the establishment of a "Medical Home" for beneficiaries which will link them with a primary health care provider and allow for yearly physicals to promote preventative rather than costly reactive health care.

 

 


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741